Are you in the mood for an authentic Mexican dish that is simple to make at home? We have an easy sopes recipe that's going to transport your taste buds straight to central Mexico, where it all began.
Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and loaded with toppings.
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This is hands down the best Mexican dish we've ever eaten (we swear we're not dramatic).
Sopes remind us of Mexican-inspired mini pizzas. These handheld discs of corn dough are going to be your new highlight on taco Tuesday (or sope Saturday).
What are they?
If you haven't heard of sopes before, don't worry. They also go by other names (like picaditas) and vary depending on which state of Mexico they're made in.
They're not too common in North America unless you have Mexican roots or get a chance to eat at an authentic restaurant.
Sopes belong to the food family antojitos (or little cravings) and are usually found in street stalls or served as appetizers.
These little bites are an essential part of Mexican culture.
Broken down — what you have is a thick corn tortilla with ridges (to keep all the goods from falling off). It's then lightly fried and topped with refried beans, vegetables, meat, and different salsas.
This dish is often garnished with shredded beef, pork, or chicken. So, we decided to put a vegan twist on sopes for those of you that love Mexican food but aren't into eating meat and dairy!
We love sopes because the toppings are extremely customizable to your taste preferences or to use up what you have on hand.
Just don't leave out one topping — a big dollop of refried beans before adding the rest of the garnishes! After that, it's totally up to you.
Whatever combo you use, sopes are out of control good.
Well friends, we hope you enjoy this vegan, gluten-free, and authentic Mexican sopes recipe.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
In order to make sopes, you need to understand how to work with this extremely versatile Mexican ingredient.
What is it?
This "dough flour" is often confused with regular corn flour, but it's not quite the same. Before being rinsed and ground into flour, masa harina is soaked in lime water (not actual lime and water).
This process infuses the flour with minerals and helps our bodies digest it more easily.
You can purchase yellow, white, or blue varieties of masa. In this particular recipe, we used white.
Once cooked, masa has a corn flavor (no kidding) with a slight sweetness. This is what provides an authentic Mexican flavor. You will see a huge list of traditional Mexican meals that start with masa and water.
Compared to flour, corn has a slight edge in the health department due to the higher fiber content. Plus, masa contains a lofty amount of vitamin B3 (aka niacin), which helps reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
Where to buy it?
We use the brand Maseca, which is found all over Mexico. If you're in North America and live near a Mexican grocery store, that's great! Otherwise, look in the international aisle of most supermarkets. Check out the FAQ on our corn tortilla post or this one if you're having any issues.
Taste: you'd be hard-pressed to find many Mexican sopes recipes without homemade refried beans on the bottom layer. They have a slightly sweet, creamy texture, which pairs perfectly with the crispy corn base.
Health: because they're made from black beans (or pinto or bayo), refried beans are beneficial to your heart from their potassium, iron, and manganese content. They're also filled with plant-based protein (15 grams per cup!!).
This is where the fun starts.
If you're in the mood for an extra creamy snack, try adding cubed avocado, guacamole, or avocado cream sauce.
If you have questions about how to make sopes, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: mix the masa harina, salt, and water to form your dough (just like in corn tortilla making). Knead the dough to form a ball that's sticky enough to stay together, but not come off on your hands. Keep mixing and pressing with your palm for a few minutes.
Step 2: break off pieces of dough to form small balls (about the size of a golf ball). You should get about 9-10 sopes out of this recipe, but make more if you're looking for one-bite sopes.
Step 3: if you have a tortilla press, cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit into the press. Open the press and place a ball of dough in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down quite gently to form thick tortillas (about ¼-inch).
Note: If you don't have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same 2 pieces of plastic on your counter and press down with a flat-bottom baking dish or plate.
Step 4: preheat a cast-iron skillet up to medium-low or medium (medium-low works best on our stove). Then, add a sope in and cook on the first side for 60-70 seconds. Flip and cook for another 60-90 seconds, or until you see brown spots forming.
Step 5: remove the sope from heat and let it rest while you add in the next one. After about 30-60 seconds, pull a little dough from the inner portion of the cooked sope and pinch it out to the edge with your thumb and index finger to form a ridge all the way around.
Step 6: Cover the sope with a tea towel, and repeat this process until they're all cooked.
Step 7: shallow fry each sope on both sides on medium-low or medium (depending on your stove). We find about 20-30 seconds on each side works best to turn them a nice light gold color. Transfer the sopes to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any excess oil.
Step 8: serve your sopes with a layer of refried beans on the bottom. Top them with any of the following: salsa fresca, avocado cubes, vegan queso fresco, vegan Mexican crema, chorizo, lime wedges, or hot sauce. Enjoy!
We don't recommend storing sopes fully dressed in your fridge or freezer. The following will discuss how to store the corn base:
Keeping warm: it's important to keep the sopes warm while you cook them the first time (the dry skillet cook, not the shallow fry). Cover them with a tea towel after they're cooked and you've pinched the edges.
Fridge: these store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. If you don't think you'll make sopes for a while, we recommend freezing them right away.
Freezer: store in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 6-8 months. When you feel like sopes, thaw the amount you want in your fridge overnight and they'll be soft in the morning!
Reheating: since we recommend storing sopes before their fried in oil, the best method to reheat is by shallow frying each one on medium-low or medium heat for about 20-30 seconds per side. If you prefer these oil-free, heat each side for 30-45 seconds in a dry skillet over medium.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- For the best results, ensure you're using a cast-iron skillet.
- If you want smaller, bite-sized sopes, split this recipe into 14-16 pieces instead of 9-10.
- Use a thermometer to dial in your oil temperature during the shallow fry (350-375 degrees F).
- Don't forget to make refried beans from scratch. They taste so much better.
🍴 Tasting notes
We would give our right arms for these sopes, and we have a feeling you might too. They're:
If you try these antojitos, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Easy Vegan Sopes
- 2 cups masa harina ($0.25)
- 1 ½ cups warm water ($0.01)
- ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1 recipe refried beans ($0.78)
- Add the masa harina and salt to a mixing bowl and combine. Then, add in 330g (approx. 1 ½ cups) of warm water to start and mix together using your hands.
- Begin kneading the dough to form a ball that's sticky enough to stay together, but not coming off on your hands. Keep mixing and pressing with your palm for a few minutes.
- If the dough appears too crumbly, add a tbsp of water at a time until you are able to form a texture similar to play-dough. If it becomes too sticky, add in a little more masa harina.
- Next, start breaking off pieces of the masa dough to form small balls (about 60-65g each, or the size of a golf ball). Roll each piece of dough in between your palms until smooth. You should get about 9-10 sopes out of this recipe. Cover all the dough balls with a tea towel on your counter or cutting board.
- If you have a tortilla press, cut a zip lock bag into 2 pieces that will fit into the press (one for each side of the sope).
- Open the press and place a ball of dough in the center on a piece of plastic. Place the other plastic piece on top and close the press down quite gently to form thick tortillas (about ¼-inch).
- If you don't have a tortilla press, place your ball of dough between the same 2 pieces of plastic on your counter. Press the dough down with the bottom of a baking dish or flat plate until it's about ¼-inch thick.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet for 8-10 minutes up to medium-low or medium (medium-low works best on our stove). Then, add a sope in and cook on the first side for 60-70 seconds. Flip and cook for another 60-90 seconds, or until brown spots are forming (for us, 70 seconds on the first side and 80 seconds on the second works best).
- Remove from heat and let the first sope rest while you add in the next sope. After about 30-60 seconds, pull a little dough from the inner portion of the cooked sope and pinch it out to the edge with your thumb and index finger to form a ridge all the way around.
- Cover the sope with a tea towel, and repeat this process until all are cooked.
- Heat about ¼ cup of neutral oil in the same cast-iron skillet over medium-low or medium (depending on your stove). Fry each sope on both sides for about 20-30 seconds, or until they appear a light golden color. Remove from heat and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any excess oil.
- 1 g = 1 mL of water
- While frying the sopes in oil isn't necessary, we think it crisps them up perfectly to compliment the creamy refried beans and other garnishes.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- Calories are for 1 sope plus a generous dollop of refried beans.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more Mexican-inspired dishes, check out our:
- Crispy black bean tacos for an easy weekday meal smothered in avocado cream sauce.
- Enchiladas verdes if you like your tortillas stuffed with wholesome ingredients and covered in sauce.
- Empanadas because they're crispy on the outside and full of all your favorite fillings.
- Tamales to find out how easy it is to make these delicious and perfectly packaged Mexican snacks.
No. Sopes aren't traditionally made with flour tortillas so we don't recommend it.
You can skip frying the sopes, but we recommend against it because that's how they get nice and crispy.
This recipe isn't very spicy at all. We try to keep our recipes rather neutral and let you decide how spicy to make it.
You don't have to pinch the outside, but this is what helps keep all the toppings from falling off (plus it looks way better).
Since sopes are supposed to have a crispy exterior, we recommend shallow frying them. But, you can also bake them for an oil-free version.
Yes, these are gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, we always recommend making sure no ingredients are exposed to possible cross-contamination.